Make and Make Do  
By John Cupp - Oregon - USA

About the Author

FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE DUCK POND AND IT'S CRAZY DUCK SWIMMING THERE. Actually I'm at PORT ORFORD, OREGON. Celebrating the anniversary of my wedding to the most wonderful women on earth (I should mention she's reading over my shoulder as I type this). But that has nothing to do with the bottom of the DUCK POND, except I am at the ocean in Oregon and I have been trying to get a good deal on some Port Orford cedar.

At this particular harbor all boats are lifted from the water at night and put on giant trailers. They are then returned in the morning. WHY? Because the rough water causes strong tides, making anchoring an impossibility. Huge fifty-ton capacity cranes lift trawlers in and out of Port Orford as if they weighed nothing.

Let me introduce myself, I am John Cupp. Sometimes I go by Announcer and many other names depending upon ones earned before or after I stopped drinking and fighting years ago. I moved from Pennsylvania to California as a small child and boating was in my family’s blood including my own. My maternal cousins own a large fleet of paddlewheel gambling casinos. For reasons unknown to me, they have shunned our side of the family and rarely ever talk to us unless money matters when inheritances are divided.

Our family grew up in East Palo Alto until Martin Luther King was shot and the riots forced us to move around from school to school. I loved my wood shop classes and even accomplished building my first kayak. My father was a commercial bus driver with a love for fishing. We ended up commercial fishing from Sausalito, Princeton and Moss Landing depending upon what type of fish we were going to long line. I went to DeAnza College and majored in Machine Tool Technology. At the time, select students were allowed to work for the government at NASA Ames Research Center. I worked in one of the machine shops and became a certified welder. My love of wood was enhanced instead of harmed by the knowledge I received. I graduated from De Anza just as the Aerospace Industries suffered a huge cutback from Congress. I chose to go to a union school as a heavy equipment mechanic.

Compared to all the things I have done in my life I prize woodworking the most. I have an eclectic collection of my own tools ranging from a huge single phase 220-volt industrial table saw, to fine carving sets with nearly everything in the middle. Many of the huge barges and boats that have collected algae from Klamath Lake, (where I live) were built and worked on by my consulting business. On Memorial Day 2001 I fell and injured my knee. Several months went by (painfully) followed by surgery (finally!). February of 2002 I fell on ice and re-injured a 1998 spine injury that had been previously operated on.

So this is where I am. I have knowledge and skills to pass on. I understand tools because at one point I built them. Let’s get going so I can test these tools and give you my opinion of how they work, the good and the bad, objectively.

In my secret laboratory at the bottom of the Duck Pond I have agreed to test new and vital tools specifically for the homebuilder and DO-IT-YOURSELFER.

Not the high priced tools that we all dream about, but true inexpensive tools our members ought to know about. And have I got some nice tools for you to think about. Makita has just tuned up its hypoid saw from 13 amps to 15 amps, a nice saw with excellent power and a left hand cut. They even throw in an $80 tool belt in some promotions. I give the rest in detail in my complete write up! What a cavalcade of products coming for your reading delight.

A powerful 13"X6" tabletop planer that will make you pull out your wallet when you read this report. You’ll marvel at the top of the line performance at bargain basement prices. This is a table saw for around $400 that will match the competitions saws that consistently cost a thousand dollars or more. My father always told me to buy the best whenever possible but not to waste money unnecessarily. We will look into solar and alternative propulsion and the benefits to the air and water. Boaters and builders, come with me on a journey from the past you now know to the future of smarter, stronger, less expensive alternative approaches. We’ll combine good sense building with a love for sailing and boating.

I have a few strong backs to help me, very good friends who both are master carpenters. I also have a jointer coming made by RBIndustries Inc. that will make laminating 4’X8’ sheets of plywood child’s play. We are talking length or width! It will make any joint faster with a modest cash layout compared to any other jointer.

It’s still hard for me to walk and get around, but I’ll do my darndest to swim with the best of the others at DUCK WORKS. This is a heads up for all of you to be prepared to have the latest information on new tools that may even come into notoriety right here at Duckworks Magazine. If you have any thoughts or criticisms, this little corner Chuck’s made for me will always be open.